Friday, April 17, 2015

You Won't Remember This by Kate Blackwell #shortstories #southernfiction



Title: You Won’t Remember This
Author: Kate Blackwell
Publisher: Bacon Press Books
Pages: 232
Genre: Short Stories/Southern Fiction
Format: Kindle

The twelve stories in Kate Blackwell’s debut collection illuminate the lives of men and women who appear as unremarkable as your next-door-neighbor until their lives explode quietly on the page. Her wry, often darkly funny voice describes the repressed underside of a range of middle-class characters living in the South. Blackwell’s focus is elemental—on marriage, birth, death, and the entanglements of love at all ages—but her gift is to shine a light on these universal situations with such lucidity, it is as if one has never seen them before.

For More Information

  • You Won’t Remember This is available at Amazon.
  • Purchase book at Bacon Press Books.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Read excerpt here.
Book Excerpt:

Carpe Diem

            The "shadow line," Kurt calls it. Carroll believes he is referring to age, to some transitional moment into old age. But what moment exactly? When we are too old to make love? Too tired to feel desire? Kurt shrugs. When our hopes are extinguished? When I'll never see you again? What line are you talking about, Kurt?
            Kurt is almost fifty but looks younger. His hair is a dark silky brown. His skin is smooth. There is a youthful leprechaun quality about him, though he is beginning to have a paunch about the belly. He does not get enough exercise. If he could ski regularly, he says, he would lose that flab. Kurt is an expert skier. He learned to ski when he was five, in Germany. When he was eleven, he had a terrible accident that broke both legs below the knee. The fractured fibulas erupted through flesh and skin. Carroll, drawing her finger along the deep scars on Kurt's calves, tries to envision the accident, the broken skis, the bloodied snow, the boy lying there in the snow, waiting for someone to come.
            But she has a hard time picturing Kurt as a boy. Sometimes she has a hard time remembering what he looks like now. Though they have been together for nearly two years, loosely speaking—she has her own place, he has his—they really do not see that much of each other. Kurt is a free-lance photographer and is often traveling. Benin. Djibouti. Sucre. Carroll, too, is busy. She owns and runs a nursery school called Sunshine Day for three- and four-year-olds. Sometimes months go by when Carroll and Kurt do not see each other, though sometimes, out of the blue, he will call from some distant place. She will hear his voice, high-pitched and tentative, a as if he did not expect her to answer (or perhaps it’s the connection that makes it sound that way?)—Hello? Remember me?—and she feels such happiness it terrifies her. Does he actually believe she has forgotten him?
            And yet, in certain ways, she does forget. Today, standing in her school yard among all the small revved-up bodies and high yelling voices, sniffing the odors of sand and lilac, she tries to conjure his face. She knows his eyes are green, his nose small and sharp, his skin lightly freckled. But she cannot visualize his mouth or the curve of his cheek or his expression when he looks at her. She cannot remember his voice. She expects to hear that voice, though, perhaps in a few hours. Kurt is due back today from Mali. Or is it Niger? The prospect of seeing him makes her giddy. He has been away nearly two months. Even so, even in the midst of her excitement, she can't help asking herself where this relationship is going. The question occurs to her all the time, but whenever she alludes to the future—an off-hand reference to season tickets for the opera or a time-share deal on a beach house—Kurt shakes his head.
            "Carpe diem," he says, in his lightly accented speech.
            And Carroll, though she is not seeking permanence, though she does not believe that relationships require official bonds, though she is happy living on her own and seeing Kurt for compressed periods of passion and good talk, is enraged.
            Carpe diem indeed.

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